Bandleader Claude Thornhill was born this day in 1909 in Terre Haute, Ind. He died in July 1965. The conservatory-trained pianist got his start in territory bands in the Midwest before moving to New York in the early 1930s.
His popular dance band had a long-term influence on jazz of the 1940s and '50s. Gil Evans and Gerry Mulligan teamed up in 1947 to write some jazz-oriented instrumental arrangements for the Thornhill band. Those arrangements inspired Miles Davis to have Evans and Mulligan create a nine-piece version of the same sound. That became the historic Birth of the Cool band.
Tenor saxophonist Arnett Cobb was born this day in 1918 in Houston, Texas. He helped define the so-called "Texas tenor" style of playing that was assimilated by so many rhythm and blues horn sections.
On this day in 1920, Ma Smith recorded "Crazy Blues. It was the first vocal blues recorded by a black artist.
On this night in 2001, The Jazz Bakery's gala fundraiser at the John Anson Ford Ampitheater in Los Angeles featured the Kenny Barron-Regina Carter duo and singer Claudia Acuna and her quartet.
Looking at today's hip happenings...
On the New York jazz scene... Dianne Reeves is at the Village Vanguard through Sunday with pianist Peter Martin, bassist Ruben Rogers, and drummer Greg Hutchinson. Bassist Charlie Haden is at the Blue Note for a two-week duo celebration, with Geri Allen tonight through Sunday, then Paul Bley, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Brad Mehldau. The Steve Lacy-Roswell Rudd quartet is at Iridium this week.
Singer Luciana Souza is at the Jazz Standard with her quintet. Buster Williams' quartet with Patrice Rushen, Lenny White and Stefon Harris is at Birdland tonight. Michel Camilo's 17-piece Latin jazz orchestra is at the B.B. King Blues club tonight. Mike Fahn is at Kavehaz tonight. The Philadelphia Heritage Ensemble is at Triad. The Ralph Peterson Quintet is at Smoke tonight. The Machito Orchestra is at the Prospect Park Bandshell in Brooklyn. It includes a tribute to Alfredo "Chocolate" Armenteros. This event will close the month-long Celebrate Brooklyn Festivities.
This second Saturday in the annual Caramoor Jazz Festival in Katonah features the Mark Turner quartet featuring Kurt Rosenwinkel, drummer Louis Hayes' band, saxophonist Charles McPherson's group, Benny Green and Russell Malone, and Cuban-born pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba's trio. See caramoor.com for details.
The Russ Kassoff trio, trombonist Rob McConnell and singer Catherine Dupuis are featured tonight at the Saekets Harbor Jazz Festival north of Syracuse.
The world's most famous jazz event, the JVC Newport Jazz Festival continues today at Fort Adams State Park on the Rhode Island coastline with Tony Bennett, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Dave Holland quintet. Sex Mob, Greg Osby and Jason Moran, Yerba Buena, Oleta Adams, and Bill Cosby's Cos' of Good Music All-Stars are also on the bill. That band includes James Williams on piano, Dwayne Burno on upright bass, Jamaaladeen Tacuma on electric bass, Don Alias on percussion, Ndugu Chancler on drums, Robin Eubanks on trombone, Carlos Ward on alto sax, Javon Jackson on tenor sax and Mark Whitfield on guitar with Cosby conducting and playing timbales. You can find more details at festivalproductions.net.
Flute player Wendy Klein's quartet is at CAV in Providence, R.I., tonight.
The Citizens Bank New Haven Jazz Festival opens its run of three consecutive Saturday night concerts on The Green tonight with Curtis Stigers and Nancy Wilson.
In the Boston area, singer Jimmy Scott concludes a two-night run at Scullers in Boston. David Maxwell's Maximum Blues band is at The Regattabar in Cambridge tonight. Pianist Bill Charlap's trio is at the Marblehead Summer Jazz series.
In Chicago... drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts' quartet is at the Jazz Showcase for two more nights. There's a
Sabertooth After Hours Jazz Party from midnight to 5 a.m. at the Green Mill tonight. Bopology is at Joe's BeBop Cafe and Jazz Emporium tonight. Rankinfyle is at Philander's in Oak Park tonight.
In New Orleans tonight... the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars are at the Blue Nile. The Mark Braud quintet is at Donna's. Ryan Burrage and his Rhythm Makers are at Dos Jefes. The Devin Phillips quartet is at the Funky Butt tonight. Louis Ford and Topsy Chapman are at Satchmo's jazz room in Harrah's casino.
Kim Prevost and Bill Solley are at Le Salon at Windsor Court. Lionel Ferbos leads the Palm Court Jazz Band at Palm Court. John Brunious leads the jazz band tonight at Preservation Hall. The Panorama Jazz Band is at the Seaport Cafe. Astral Project is at Snug Harbor tonight. Jesse McBride is at the Steak Knife.
The New Wave Brass Band is at the French Market's Dutch Alley tent this afternoon. Rhodes Spedale and Dave Carbonara are at the Noble Bistro this afternoon.
On the California jazz scene... the Jimmy Smith quartet is at the Catalina Bar and Grill in North Hollywood tonight and Sunday. Jeff Hamilton's trio is at Steamers Jazz Cafe in Fullerton tonight. Pianist Dave Burrell and bassist William Parker are at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles tonight. The Stanford Jazz Festival in Palo Alto features the George Coleman quintet tonight. In San Francisco, trumpeter Dave Scott's quintet is at Jazz at Pearl's tonight.
The AT&T San Jose Jazz Festival features today include Mark Levine and The Latin Tinge, the Afro-Cuban groove ensemble Safarri, The 50 Voice Oakland Jazz Choir, John Santos and the Machete Ensemble, Larry Coryell, George Duke, the Larry Vuckovich Trio, Papa Grows Funk, Phil Hawkins and the Caribbean Jazz Ensemble, Con Alma, Dena De Rose, Madeline Eastman, the Virginia Mayhew Group with trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, and Rhiannon with a Bowl Full of Sound.
Bojan Zulfikarpasic and Ornette Coleman are featured tonight at France's Jazz en Marciac festival.